Lovely Algarve, Portugal

Lovely Algarve, Portugal

We recently had a very relaxing 1-week holiday in lovely Portugal. For the sake of posterity and for whoever is planning to go there in the future, here is our experience, along with a few tips and service references!

Our Itinerary

9th of August

  • Fly out from London

10th of August

  • Had our brekkie in Faro at Entao – I had a vegetable toast
  • Walked around Faro’s amazing pedestrian streets
  • Discovered restaurants, pop-ups and gelato places – we both had so much to eat!! I was jumping around like a 5-year old for finding all kinds of places serving fruits, veggies and sorbets

 

 

 

11th of August

  • Took an organised boat trip tour to Ihla Deserta and Ihla Culatra
  • In the afternoon, we headed towads what we thought was Ihla Terra Estreita, but we got lost on the way #touristsgetlost
  • Had dinner in Faro

 

12th of August

  • Woke up super late and decided to just go out for lunch in Faro – we ended up at The Woods for salads (defo not a recommend because of their constant state of confusion about what you ordered)
  • We wanted to buy our highway tolls card, but Sat everything was closed (tips alert!)
  • Decided to head towards Sagres, but we realized it was not worth all the way, so we decided to just stay in Albufeira where we discovered Praia de Falesia – amazing!

13th of August

  • This time we did our research – to read, Angel did his research – and we went again for Terra Estreita
  • We were successful in finding the ferry onboarding point – this time!

14th of August

  • Drove towards Sagres
  • Spent the afternoon at Praia Beliche
  • For the sunset, we headed to the Cabo de Sao Vicente, but it proved to be too cold and windy to wait for 2 hrs for the sun to set (I chickened out despite having received a knitted jumper as a gift from my lovely boyfriend)
  • We then changed locations to Fortaleza de Sagres, where this time I held my head high – or waited in the car haha – to eventually witness one of the most amazing sunsets ever
  • Had a reservation for dinner at Mum’s, best, tastiest, most presentable vegan food I had in a while
  • Because it was way too late to head back to Faro and we had a tour planned early morning, we decided to stay overnight in Lagos and found a quirky hostel at its heart, at Orange3 Hostel
View from Cabo Sao Vicente

15th of August

  • We had an amazing kayak tour through the caves of Lagos
  • Spent the rest of the day on Praia Dona Ana, I think both of ours favorite
Best dinner at Mum’s

16th of August

  • Relaxing time in Faro in the morning and pack up for flight back
  • Fly back to London

Useful tips and tricks

Tip #1 Rent a car!

There are trains – and seemingly a bus coach station – but I think while we travelled the roads of Algarve, we didn’t see one bus or any sign of public transport. From what I read before going, inter-city buses run maybe every hour. We thought we don’t want to waste our time waiting for public transport. Plus, there are only so many places you can reach by bus (and foot). Algarve has tens, if not hundreds, of beaches which are reachable only by car.

As a side note, renting a car is actually quite cheap. We paid only 120 euros for our hire, for a 7-day period (!!).

Parking is also quite easy to find and in some cases it’s free of charge. The streets are not that high in traffic even at “rush hour” because… #relaxedlife! You can even use an app (Telpark) to buy your parking slots if you need to and it’s about 0.20 euros per 30 mins.

Tip #2 Get your pre-paid highway toll card

And make sure you do so before the weekend. You can get it from different points, but I think the most reliable ones are the post office services. However, they are open only during week days.

Tip #3 There are toll-free roads

If you don’t want to pay the highways tolls or you simply couldn’t buy the card (like our case), then you can travel places on national toll-free roads. They are not high-speed roads, but they’ll get you anyware. Just make sure you use the “Avoid tolls” setting on your GPS.

Tip #4 Book your dinners ahead

The Algarve is packed with tourists and so are their restaurants. If you want to eat at the best places, then don’t expect to walk in and find a seat just like that. However, you can book your table quite easily either through phone or simply by walking in the day before.

Tip #5 Relax

Don’t expect to find loads of places open at the early hours of the morning serving breakfast and coffee. It’s not London, ok? These are relaxed people, enjoying their late evenings, they wake up late, they might open late (or not open at all in some cases in spite of their official opening time), they take mid-day siestas and they take their time in most of their daily activities. It takes a few days to get used to this rhythm, but once you do, your up for a great holiday!

Useful Information and references

Below, some of the services and hires we used for our trip, including good restaurants:

Accomodation
 
Faro: Cristina’s Room on AirBnb (312 euros)

Lagos: Orange3 Hostel (56 euros)

 Car Hire
Luzcar, we had a Nissan Micra with AC (120 euro)
Adventure Companies
Kayak Trip in Lagos: Days of Adventure

Boat trip in Faro: Estreia da Ria Formosa

Restaurants
Faro
The Wood’s

Portas de Sao Pedro

Lagos
Casa Do Prego
 Sagres
 Mum’s

 

For the final word…

And because I leave all the nice things for the end, what better conclusion to this post than a slideshow of some of our pics and short movies on this vacation.

Faro August 2017

A one week holiday to Faro in pictures and clips.

 

 

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8 Tips for a Vegan’s Social Awkwardness

8 Tips for a Vegan’s Social Awkwardness

You are having lunch with a group of friends and someone is offering you cake, you say “no, thanks, I am vegan” and from that point onwards a whole discussion starts. You are flooded with questions around why you are a vegan, where you get your proteins from and – if some of them are fanatic meat eaters – you even get some weird reactions of people getting super hot on the subject and verbally attacking you.

I’m sure every vegan has been through this situation too many times. Probably some of us have also realized by now that some approaches in these discussions can leave a bitter taste. Unless you are a huge activist or you feel like your purpose is to convince everyone to change – good luck with that! – I wanted to give my own tips to dealing with these situations.

First of all, why do you get these reactions?

Have you noticed that when anyone says they are not having a specific ingredient because they are allergic or intolerant, most people don’t go “have a little bit, you’ll be fine”? Maybe they get some sympathy, but they don’t need to go into a lot of details as to how they became intolerant, what their symptoms are, how they “live their lives like this” and where they get different nutrients.

The deal with us is that we choose to be different. Society has long taught us to respect rules and formalities. It is to the good of a community to have everyone drive on the same side of the road, to patiently wait in line for your turn and to swipe your oyster card when you enter/leave a tube station. The problem starts when we extend this mentality to other things like how people should dress, how they choose to decorate their skin (ie tattoos, piercings), how they choose to color their hair, what sexual orientation they should have and eventually how they choose to eat – and with diet everyone seems to think they are a nutritionist. These are all things that don’t affect the community, but still, we feel like everyone needs to conform.

Having said that…

Tip #1. Prepare before you go out

Some of us already do that because we are never sure if there is an option when we eat out. However, being prepared with your order before you get there also avoids the awkward discussion with your waiter, while everyone else is witnessing. Believe me, if you thought the discussion is over once your waiter leaves, it’s only the beginning for the people at the table :D.

Tip #2. Don’t be too difficult with offered food

Be flexible with your options. If you are in a restaurant or a guest and you are offered food, just pick or combine – creativity helps here – from what you can get. Don’t be like “Oh maaan! Seriously?! How come you guys didn’t think about vegans?! What am I supposed to eat here?” Eventually, don’t forget this is your choice and you are still a minority. Also, you don’t want to invite any further, already defensive, discussions.

Top #3. Don’t offer unelicited explanations

Whenever you are offered non-vegan food, just politely say “no, thank you!” just like any regular person refuses something they don’t want or need. If this is a host offering you their cooked meal or you get surprised eyes – because the food is so delicious in their opinion and they can’t understand how someone could refuse it 😀 – then you can also say a simple “no, thank you, I eat a plant based diet”. Note that using the word “vegan” sometimes invites for discussion because some people don’t know what that entails. I prefer to avoid it or if I use it, then I immediately explain what that means in very short terms: no animal products.

Tip #4. Don’t start the discussion on your own

Unless you are a hearty vegan activist setting up an intervention to all of your friends (and their friends) on a nice dinner out, don’t go out of the blue “Oh by the way, I am a vegan and you should be too!” 😀 . Even when offered non-vegan food, try to refuse nicely without jumping into details about your veganism, especially if no one is asking. I know it’s hard to imagine, but some people really don’t care to hear more.

Tip #5. Avoid discussions in groups

If you are having lunch with a group of people and you revealed you are a vegan, 90% of the cases someone will start a conversation around it asking you one of the questions:

  • “Soooo where do you get your proteins?”
  • “Why did you go vegan? How did that help you”
  • “How can you live without cheese?! Really?!”
  • “What would you do if you were stranded on an island and had only fish to eat?” (yep, got different variations of that question)

I recommend humorously answering the question and proposing that you discuss in private “because probably not everyone is interested in talking about my diet”. I also sometimes say “Well, let’s discuss in more detail some other time if you are interested in a vegan diet. I have lots of experience to share so far.”

Tip #6. Arm yourself with some basic facts

Nothing helps more if you end up discussing your diet, than verifiable facts. I have used some I read or heard about through media. A few examples are:

  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is one of the largest organization of nutrition professionals states in one of their releases that  “a vegan diet is nutritionally adequate”.
  • The Adventist population studies using thousands of subjects found that vegans had 15% fewer mortality rates than omnivores.
  • The only male lifter to make it to the last Olympics to Team USA was vegan and he broke a weightlifting record (Kendrick Farris)

So this should at least ensure everyone that you are not a hippie going off charts, dying or dissolving into thin air (contrary to some beliefs) haha

Tip #7. Be careful with your tone of voice

An approach like “Eeeek! How can you that, dude?!” or “Don’t you f**in’ tell me that eating meat is ok! You are a killer of animals!” never proved to yield the best results. I think there’s no need for further explanations here.

Tip #8. Humor helps

The discussions around this subject that go really bad usually are a result of people taking the matter too seriously. On either side. So joking while answering questions always helps.

Ultimately, I think it’s important that you don’t let dietary or ethical choices affect your social interactions and your friendships. Life has to be enjoyable for everyone and embracing differences is just one crucial step to getting there. Peace! 😀

 

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Vegan Healthy Pizza in Fulham

Vegan Healthy Pizza in Fulham

Suitable: vegans, vegetarian

Area: Fulham

DESCRIPTION

Vegan Temptations on a spirulina base

Mozarella, Kale, broccoli, almond ricotta, blueberries

Vegan Ravenous Lumberjack on a hemp base

Tomato, mozzarella, sausage, smokey cheese

Take It Vegan Cheesy on a burnt wheat base

Mozzarella, almond ricotta, creamy cheese, parmesan, potato

 

REVIEW

Truly a pizza that any vegan has to try in London.

The restaurant is one of those hidden gems. It is not right on the street, it is quite small, a couple of tall tables and a bar. For that reason, they highly encourage booking in advance. However, their pizza is a delight! We received a full presentation on their cooking methods and their pizza bases: spirulina, burnt wheat, hemp, multi-grain,

We received a full presentation on their cooking methods and their pizza bases: spirulina, burnt wheat, hemp, multi-grain, kamut and turmeric. They only use the highest wholemeal flour, which makes the pizza very rich and nutritious. The vegan cheeses are Violife and other homemade versions that make it melty and stringy.

We tried their award winning "Vegan Temptations" and we weren't disappointed. Their "Take It Vegan Cheesy" also rose up to a vegan's expectations of a good old cheese. This place receives my 5 stars!

RESTAURANT

REACH

Address:

Shopping Palace, Unit (7)347 North End Road, Fulham SW6 1NN

Phone:  +44 74 2707 6525 (Andrea) +44 75 5208 5472 (Cristiano)

Opening Hours:

12:00 AM – 11:30 PM

Tuesday CLOSED

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Vegan Sushi Box in Putney

Vegan Sushi Box in Putney

Suitable: vegans, vegetarian

Area: Putney

DESCRIPTION

Vegetarian Box (v) (14pcs)

2 inari nigiri, 6 asparagus & avocado maki, 3 cucumber maki and 3 takuan maki

REVIEW

Perfect plate size, amazingly rice consistency and "stickiness". The presentation is also great with asparagus stems coming out of the rolls in a delicious mix of colors. Definitely recommend if you are after a vegan sushi box.

RESTAURANT

REACH

Address:

296-298 Upper Richmond Road, London SW15 6TH

Phone: 020 8394 7666

Opening Hours:

Open 7 days a week

Sunday - Thursday 12noon to 11pm

Friday & Saturday 12noon to 11.30pm

Last Order 30 mins before closing hour

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Roasted aubergine and chickpea dhal in Putney

Roasted aubergine and chickpea dhal in Putney
Free from: molluscs, lupin, peanuts, soya, sesame, seeds, egg, milk, sulphites

Contains: gluten (from wheat), nuts (almonds), celery, mustard, garlic

Suitable: vegans, vegetarian

Area: Putney

DETAILS

Cherry tomatoes, coriander chutney, toasted almonds, grilled flatbread

REVIEW

I was ensured this is definitely vegan even by cooking practices, so definitely should please even the most serious activist.

To be honest, by the time I received the plate, I was super hungry. I did take my time though to admire the multitude of colors on my plate. It had lots of veggies, nicely cooked and deliciously blending together in a sweet-spicy way. You also receive a soft flatbread next to it, which I used more to capture the taste of the remaining sauce on my plate.

RESTAURANT

Hygene Rating (by the Food Standards Agency): 5 out of 5

 

REACH

Address:

146-148 Putney High Street
Putney SW15 1RR

Phone: 020 8780 2818

Opening Hours:

Monday-Saturday: 8am – 11pm

Sunday (and bank holidays): 9am – 10:30pm

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